The timing was perfect for Paul Laurence Dunbar to pull an upset.
The Bulldogs, celebrating Senior Night in their regular-season finale, led from start to finish in knocking off visiting Bryan Station 59-56.
Dunbar (12-12) pulled to .500 and avenged a pair of losses to Bryan Station earlier this season — 73-67 in the Fayette County Invitational on Dec. 21, and 57-46 on Jan. 25.
"It was a huge night," said Christin Haney, one of two seniors on the winning squad. "It feels good to win on Senior Night.
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"We knew we could do it. We just had to really work hard. I had faith in my team there at the end, and they did well."
Things got interesting as Dunbar let a 16-point second-half lead dwindle to two in the final seconds.
"Good prep for going into the district tournament," Coach Amy Tilley said. "I'm glad we got that scenario for us, so when we get to tournament time we know there's no blowouts."
The Bulldogs head into the 43rd District tourney, Monday at Lafayette, to face Tates Creek.
Sophomore post player Lakeena Parks scored 13 of Dunbar's first 17 points, finishing with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
"I've been telling her all year that she can do that," Tilley said. "She's capable of doing that every single night."
Haney added 14 points and Kierra Muhammad had 13.
Serena Sandusky led Bryan Station with 14 points and Carrington Caise had 12. Hallie Crumbie totaled 11 points and 13 rebounds.
No. 23 Bryan Station (22-5) opens play in the 42nd District tourney Wednesday, playing host to Henry Clay.
Defenders Coach Karra Jackson knows it's difficult to beat a team three times in a season.
"Yeah, it is," she said, "and when you don't come out ready to play it's even harder. That's what killed us.
"That's the difference this time of year. This time of year, you shouldn't have to come out dead, with no passion, no enthusiasm. It's the last game of the season. I think you should come out ready to play."
Still, the Defenders' furious finish put them in position to pull the game out.
After forcing the last of Dunbar's 26 turnovers with about 30 seconds left, trailing 58-56, Bryan Station took time out with 14.2 seconds left.
A traveling call gave the ball back.
Dunbar's Kierra Muhammad left the door open again, making one of two free throws at :10.5.
After another timeout, the best Bryan Station could do was a forced shot from the corner by Marissa Prince that didn't come close.
"The last six minutes, yeah, we did a good job," Jackson said. "But the first 26, no."
BRYAN STATION (22-5) — Caise 12, Prince 6, Sandusky 14, Clark 4, A. Crumbie 6, H. Crumbie 11, Frazier 3. Totals 20-61 14-23 56.
PAUL L. DUNBAR (12-12) — Fender 6, Muhammad 13, Haney 14, Grabmayer 0, Parks 19, McEldowney 7. Totals 19-45 16-28 59.
Bryan Station 10 10 16 20—56
Paul L. Dunbar 18 9 21 11—59